For some people, having a child is like coming home. It's like feeling as if everything is finally in place, comfortable, normal--the way it's supposed to be.
For myself, having children has been like traveling to the far reaches of the world. Exciting! Alluring! Novel!
And then the reality hit: I don't speak this language, everything is confusing, nothing works the way I'm used to it working, and I'm tired and homesick. And during the first four months after Tate's birth, I found myself frequently folded over a toilet bowl (but instead of having giardia, I had a malfunctioning gallbladder).
I try not to come to this whiny place often. When I feel myself getting homesick for my former life--the life where no one depended on me and I had complete jurisdiction over my time and space--I focus on the immense gratitude that I feel for having had the privilege of giving birth to two healthy boys. I am overwhelmed by that opportunity. I consider it nothing short of a miracle nearly every single day.
But it's a battle for sure. The day-to-day can be so! darn! hard! I want to be reading or writing or running or doing yoga or sewing or making a template or producing a podcast or pulling together a birthday present for a friend or talking to my mom or planning our next vacation or sleeping in or watching a movie. And instead I am helping a three year-old look for his shoes because he took them off to play in his tent and forgot to put them in his basket by the door. Or I'm trying to wipe poop off a ten month-old's butt who clearly doesn't want to be undergoing that experience either. Or I'm fighting the urge to curl up in an exhausted ball on the bed instead of finishing the dishes.
And the whole time I'm trying to project patience and positivity and calm and caring. And inside I'm not feeling any of those things! I'm feeling impatient and frustrated and selfish.
I don't regret having children at all. Not even a little bit. And I don't regret deciding to have two, even though I know our lives would be so much easier with one right now. But I just need to take this moment to acknowledge how hard it is. To give myself permission to feel all the horrible things I feel on the inside and to celebrate how amazingly committed I am to channeling it into positive interactions with my children on the outside.
And I'm saying it aloud in case any of you feel something similar. Parenting is frequently such a hard, thankless job. I'm looking forward to the time when Tate will regularly sleep through the night and when my boys' schedules and play preferences sync up a bit more. Maybe 16 months will bring a huge shift just like it did with Henry?
In the meantime, I'm just going to have to vent from time to time and then fall back on my mantra: "Let's be grateful."